SIS student shows interest in restoring Japanese war tanks


A student is seeking help from the Saipan municipal government in his attempt to restore most of the Japanese tanks on island to its former glory as they were seen before the war.

Saipan International School sophomore R.J. Pierce visited Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang recently with a request to support him in his mission although not financially or even with the manpower, but by word of mouth.

According to Pierce, as a young individual with such big plans, community members tend to doubt his capabilities and whether he will pull through with his plans or not. With Apatang openly stating that he will support Pierce’s project, it could potentially encourage others to support the project, too.

Pierce is determined to restore a couple of the tanks that are currently rusting away like the Japanese tank displayed along Beach Road and the tank gun located near the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport.

Pierce said that his inspiration for this project stems from his love for history and the history behind his Japanese heritage. He told the media that he is also a part of the Kuentai group that visits the island regularly with the mission to repatriate the remains of all the Japanese soldiers who died during World War II.

Pierce has been working on gathering resources for this project. He has also requested help from others that have shown interest in his projects. One of Pierce’s stops was Apatang and according to the mayor, he is more than happy to help with the project in any way he and his office can.

Apatang said this is the first time that anyone in general has ever shown interest in restoring the tanks. He is ecstatic that a high school student has not only shown interest but is taking initiative to get the project going.

Pierce told the media that he is still gathering his group. He is currently still struggling to convince people to join in his beautification project, but he hopes with the municipal government supporting him, it will be a matter of time before individuals start joining his task force and he can finally carry out his goal to completely restore the Japanese tanks that are scattered across the island.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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